Battling to Bologna
Trip Start Apr 10, 2010
128Trip End Nov 29, 2010
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Where I stayed
For me it was the first time I had really been drinking since I was hospitalised almost 2 weeks before with an unspecificed stomach infection. I woke up a little worse for wear at our 5am start. Erin managed me to push me out the door of Disco and Kasia's PG Hilton Hotel. We caught a taxi to Victoria then jumped on the bus to Stansted airport. We secured the back row so I could have a lie down.
We arrived at Stansted with plenty of time to check in. Unfortunately our bags weighed more than the maximum 15kg that Ryanair impose on budget travellers. They charge £20 per extra kilogram. We were looking at an extra £160 so we went to another desk to pay but the modern institution of Ryanair only accepts cash so we had to locate an ATM
We had missed our flight to Pula so we went to an internet point to plan an alternative. BA, maybe due to the strikes had cheap flights flying out that afternoon to Bologna, which is sort of near Ljubljana so we booked on it. The flights were flying out of Gatwick so we had to transfer. This looked quite simple as National Express has a transfer from Stansted to Gatwick airports. The bus was arriving with more than 2 hours to spare so we booked on it.
We waited to 10am for our bus to be informed that it had broken down. They were providing us with free taxis to Heathrow airport where buses to Gatwick airport leave every 20 minutes. We jumped in the taxi and hit a wall of traffic around the M25. We eventually arrived at Heathrow to be told that there were delays with the buses due to the traffic and they were unsure when the buses would arrive. We waited a while then made a choice to get a taxi to Gatwick. We ran over to Terminal 1 (or maybe it was Terminal 3) and jumped in a taxi. We had plenty of time to make it to Gatwick but it wasn't helped by having maybe the only slowest taxi driver in London. This guy was getting passed by cyclists and grannies on motorised wheelchairs.
We made it to Gatwick, checked in with a pleasant lady from BA. We were finally going to be on our way to the continent. We arrived in Bologna to discover Erin's sleeping bag spread across the baggage carousel. We caught the local bus into the central train station hoping to get a train to Ljubljana
We had a cheap hotel in mind so followed the signs. We found the street after asking a local restauranteur. There was no sign of the hotel when another local informed us the hotel had closed down. She pointed us in the direction of a good local one. Hotel Cavour was ran by 2 octogenarian sisters who spoke no English.
We headed out to get some Euros and dinner. Unfortunately both our bank cards would not work at any bank in central Bologna. This had never happened to me in 8 years of travel on the continent. Eventually I tried my back up Maestro card which worked. We had cash! I can only presume there was a problem with the Visa international connection.
We got some pizza then headed back for some well-earned rest after a nightmare start to our 7 month world tour.